The apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has declared support for the re-election of the Governor of Ekiti State and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Kayode Fayemi in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The Ekiti State chapter of the Igbo group led by its southwest president, Prince Nathaniel Uzoma at the weekend said Fayemi is “a diamond which the State cannot afford to replace” and should be returned to the Oke Bareke Government House come June 21.
The President while speaking on behalf of the Igbos who filled up the Bishop Adetiloye Hall in Ado Ekiti, venue of the meeting, said southeasterners in the state are not oblivious of the various transformations that the Fayemi administration has put in place in the last three and a half years and would want the good works to continue.
Uzoma who noted that the state has experienced relative peace since 2010 when Fayemi assumed office stressed that the Igbos are aware that their businesses cannot thrive if there is no peace in the state.
The Ohaneze President who commended the present administration for not being sectional and bias in treatment of non indigenes in the State said Ndigbo were pleasantly surprised when Fayemi appointed southeasterners as political aides.
Uzoma said the Fayemi-led government also gave Ohaneze Ndigbo two 18-seater buses when other tribal groups were given buses last year and this recognition accorded the Igbo group shows that Fayemi is a friend of Ndigbo and should be well supported.
He assured that the Igbo people in the state will not only vote enmasse for the Governor but also campaign for him to ensure his victory in the forthcoming poll.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo is for JKF. Governor Fayemi walks the talk. Let me start by appreciating the governor for what he has done so far for our people. Right from the inception of this government, he is a listening governor and has been attending to our requests. I can recall that the Governor gave us two buses last year. Your Excellency, what we have not witnessed before, you have done it for us by appointing one of us as a member of your cabinet. Apart from what you have done for us directly, some other things which you have done including the infrastructural development in the State, I want to say that Ohanaeze Ndigbo are not blind. There are some people, maybe because of political reasons who tried to sacrifice the truth on the altar of politics but Ohanaeze Ndigbo is not like that.
“We appreciate the good roads that we have done in Ekiti. We appreciate what you have done in the education sector, agricultural sector and other sectors. You have done well but the most important thing which you have done is that you have brought peace to Ekiti state. I don’t know if your mind is shaky but I want to tell you that you can rest assured that come June 21, 2014 you’re returning as governor of Ekiti State,” he said.
Earlier, the Igbos who had waited about two hours for Fayemi who was in Osun State to receive the former Governor of the state and former PDP guber aspirant, Chief Isiaka Adeleke into the APC fold, were highly elated to see the governor when he arrived.
They sang various Igbo songs showing support for the Governor who later apologized for coming behind schedule.
Responding to Uzoma’s speech, Governor Fayemi redeemed the pledge of N5 million which he made last year towards the Igbo Indigent Students Education Fund.
The Governor said the donation is not a favour but a duty to the group of people who have contributed immensely to the economy and development of the State.
Fayemi said his administration is not discriminatory against any of the tribes living in the State, saying that this is evident in the appointment of some Igbo people as his political aides.
While saying that election period is usually characterized by lies, the Governor said the Igbo should be expecting a rumour that his government would repatriate the Igbo back to the East on re-election since that’s what the opposition knows best to do.
“I have told you this severally that I don’t see you as foreigners in this land. I am glad the president spoke about visiting you on village square meeting and I believe that’s the way it should be because what you are contributing to this economy and this society is unquantifiable. I like the fact that the president said we will not sacrifice the truth at the altar of politics. I think it is the most profound statement that I have heard in a long time, not just here but throughout the electioneering campaign because it is so easy to sacrifice the truth. Election period is the season of lies.
“The appointment of Special Assistant on Ethnic relations focusing on Igbo matters is one of them but I should say that he is not the only political appointee in this government. Many people dont know that the chairman of our Boundary Commission is an Igbo. There are many people who are working in government as civil servants, teachers or professionals in various fields. In everything we do, we try not to be discriminatory at all. Ekiti is one of the places where we don’t have discriminatory fees in our schools. Whether you are Igbo, Hausa or Ekiti, you pay the same fee”, Fayemi said.